Wednesday, 8 May 2019

Questions (383)

Joan Burton

Question:

383. Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Education and Skills the position regarding his plans for a new secondary school in the western area of Blanchardstown; if an appropriate site has been identified; the timeline for the delivery of the new school; if proposals regarding the patronage of the new school have been considered; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19845/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

As the Deputy will be aware, in April 2018, the Government announced plans for the establishment of 42 new schools over the next four years (2019 to 2022), including a new 800 pupil post-primary school (to be established in 2020) to serve the Blanchardstown_West_Dublin15 and BlanchardstownVge_Dublin15 school planning areas as a regional solution.

This announcement follows nationwide demographic exercises carried out by my Department into the future need for primary and post-primary schools across the country and the 4-year horizon will enable increased lead-in times for planning and delivery of the necessary infrastructure.

A patronage process is run after it has been decided, based on demographic analysis, that a new school is required. This patronage process is open to all patron bodies and prospective patrons. Parental preferences for each patron, from parents of children who reside in the school planning areas concerned, together with the extent of diversity currently available in these areas, are key to decisions in relation to the outcome of this process.

The patronage process for new schools is overseen by an external independent advisory group, the New Schools Establishment Group (NSEG). Following their consideration of my Department’s assessment reports, the NSEG submits a report with recommendations to me for consideration and final decision. The assessment reports and the NSEG recommendations for all such patronage processes are made available on my Department's website.

An Online Patronage Process System (OPPS) has been developed by my Department to provide objective information to all parents which will allow them to make an informed choice about their preferred model of patronage for their child’s education. Parental preferences were previously collected based on direct engagement with patron bodies.

The patronage process for primary and post-primary schools to be established in 2020 will commence in 2019, significantly ahead of their due opening. Updates in relation to further patronage processes will be announced on the OPPS website and my Department’s website (www.education.ie).

My Department has identified potential locations for the school and is currently working to undertake a detailed assessment of these. It is not, unfortunately, possible to give an indicative timeline for the delivery of the new school at this point. Once the location has been determined, the project to deliver the school accommodation can advance into the architectural planning process.